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tv   Anderson Cooper 360  CNN  February 17, 2017 5:00pm-6:01pm PST

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thanks for joining us. "ac 360 with jim sciutto is next." >> john berman here. closed doors, potentially high stakes. members of the senate intelligence committee entrusted to see and safeguard the country's deepest secrets got a briefing today from fbi director james comey. the subject -- russia. the details not so easy to come by. and the context, one departed national security adviser reports on this network and others of extensive contact between trump campaign advisers and russians and a cloud of suspicion that will not lift. in the middle of it all
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seemingly out of nowhere the president late today returned to the subject of yesterday's combative press conference and the target of his ire. he tweeted the fake news media failing nbc news, abc, cbs, cnn, is not my enemy but the enemy of the american people. his initial tweet had the word sick in all caps at the end. tomorrow he holds a rally in melbourne, florida. more on that tonight and his search for a new national security adviser. we begin, though weather the surprise late-afternoon intel briefing. cnn's phil mattingly is at the capitol. what if anything do we know about this briefing from fbi director comey? >> limited amount, john. but the fact it happened and when it happened is kind of underscores the importance of what this moment was. senators were done with the session. they were supposed to be headed home for recess. you know you never get in the way of a lawmaker on his way home for reses. and you don't get in the way of a senator and a camera.
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jim comey did both today and effectively. none of the senate intelligence committee members coming out of the briefing willing to say anything at all. that's rare. they can't talk about classified information but they'll usually give us an outline. they didn't. and of course also noting this was when the senate was out of session, they were willing to stay for this briefing. why does this matter? as you've noted we've been told by a source this briefing was about russia and this is the committee doing the most important and most likely most effective investigation into the russian meddling into the 2016 election. this is a bipartisan committee, one with a chair a republican and the vice chair a democrat say they have good relationships with are committed to an in depth investigation, one that includes not only contacts between campaign officials and looking into contacts between campaign officials and russian intelligence contacts but also extending into the transition period. you know what that means, john. that means that michael flynn and his contacts with the russian ambassador, that is also
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a part of the investigation. that's the broader context here. kind of underscores why this was an important moment today in the u.s. senate. >> how effective this senator is, senator marco rubio was in the briefing today, on that committee. he wrote about it afterwards. what did he say? >> reporter: a little cryptic because he walked out and like every other lawmaker refused to say anything at all, said no comment. usually a senator at least willing to give us some time. a couple hours later he tweeted out, "i'm very confident the senate intel committee i serve on will conduct a thorough bipartisan investigation of pew tip interference and influence. "again a little cryptic but coming in the wake of this briefing with fbi director jim comey and obviously marco rubio's strong position repeatedly on russia including going after president trump's secretary of state nominee, making very clear his distaste for some of president trump's positions on russia that he is okay with how this investigation is going to move going forward
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is an important moment. i think a lot of the questions we've heard from democrats and some republicans alike is, is there an independent investigative body needed, can a republican-led committee actually conduct an independent investigation. senator marco rubio, obviously a republican, says yes, and so does mike warner, the vice chairman and democrat of the committee. this is the committee to keep an eye on. these briefings increasingly important as they get to their work. >> indeed. the details hard to come by but what details there are very interesting. thanks for being with us. athena jones is at mar-a-lago where the president is spending his third consecutive weekend as president. any reaction from the white house about this briefing? >> reporter: no reaction. we know how the president feels about this russia story. we heard him say it yesterday at that long free-wheeling press conference, he thinks the russia story is a ruse, calls it fake
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news so not surprising to see they're not so eager to respond to this tonight. >> the president has an interesting schedule this weekend. ma what's ahead? >> reporter: a lot ahead. a senior administration official making it clear this will be a working weekend. it kicks off with that campaign-style rally tomorrow at the orlando melbourne international airport. it will be paid for by the campaign. this is something the president says he's looking forward to. it is aimed at getting around the filter of the media, talking directly to the people. it won't just be that rally this weekend. he's also going to be meeting with possible replacements for now former national security adviser michael flynn. slalted to meet with john bolton with h.r. master and with the acting national security adviser adviser keith kellogg, a retired lieutenant general. he has top aides with him, jared
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kushner, reince priebus, steve bannon, sean spicer, steven miller and gary cohen. they're going to be joined by the newly confirmed office of management and budget director mick mulvaney and health and human services secretary tom price to talk about the next steps in repealing and replacing obamacare. and also about tax reform. that senior administration official making it clear he won't be on vacation. >> like a full house, not to mention a full plate. athena, thank you. joaquin castro sits on the house intelligence committee. like his senate counterparts there are certain things he cannot talk about, but here's our conversation from earlier this evening. congressman, we saw fbi director james comey go into the senate today, apparently briefed the senate intelligence committee for nearly three hours. it was about russia, we are
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told. any sense of any of the details that were discussed? >> i don't, but i hope it's moving the investigation forward. i hope what was but dus cussed will be discussed with the house intelligence committee. it's important to have a full and fair investigation into what happened with the russians and the 2016 presidential election and really because americans deserve an answer to one basic question -- did any americans conspire with the russian hackers who were responsible for interfering with our e ex-lexs and if so, those americans should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law no matter how high up the chain it goes. >> we do know, cnn has learned from law enforcement sours that the fbi doesn't intend to pursue charges against michael flynn, general flynn, for his conversation with the russian ambassador. they don't think there was any law that was broken that was worth recommending charges for.
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does that mean there isn't as much here? >> i've not been briefed so it's hard to say. it is disturbing he may have had, based on public reports, thee conversations with the russian government, vis-a-vis the ambassador, the fact that reports came out that other campaign advisers of the trump campaign were talking to either the russian government or russian intelligence agents. so that's disturbing for americans. we have to have a full investigation to get to the bottom of it. yes, it's important to resolve the issue with general flynn. i said last week, this past week, it was a step in the right direction for him to resign but there's still so many unanswered questions that need to be answered. >> do you want to see the transcript of that conversation? do you think it should be made public? >> i absolutely want to see the
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transcript. and as much as possible this should be declassified so the american people can see it. >> president trump has made it clear he doesn't think highly of the media. tonight he wrote the fake news media failing "new york times," nbc news, abc, cbs, cnn, is not my enemy. it is the enemy of the american people. what's your reaction to that, congressman? >> that kind of talk is dangerous. what we've seen from president trump and when he was a candidate also is this eagerness to dele mitt legitimacy mize major institutions in society. so when he talks about so-called judges or when the white house essentially questions the authority of courts, the judiciary, to make rulings about a president's executive order, when he talks about the press and keeps berating them, talks about how disliked they are during the campaign when he would turn to his supporters and
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get them all riled up against all of the press that were in the press pen, he really is trying to aggrandize himself, paint himself as an american savior, as the only one who can stave country, and trying to belittle other institutions like the judiciary and like the press. and to me it just seems dangerous. >> there are people out there who don't like the media and a lot of his supporters don't particularly think highly of the media. >> that's right but ut ice more just his analysis -- it's not like he's writing for the columbia journalism review here, just an analysis about the press, he's doing it to strengthen his own hand so that people will be more reluctant to question his thundershower authority and his decisions. for our american democracy, that's not a good thing. >> congressman, thanks so much for being with us. have a great weekend. >> thank you. whether it's the russian
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question, the search for a national security adviser, military challenges from moscow, north korea, iran, you name it, there is plenty in front of the president this weekend and plenty right here tonight. joining us, cnn political analyst keirsten powers and maggie haberman. she covers the white house for "the new york times." a democratic strategist. former senior cia official phillip mudd and trump supporter jeffrey lord, a contributing editor at the american spectator. phil, we may never know what exactly director comey told the intelligence committee today but typically what kind of information is shared in those meetings? how much information is shared about an ongoing investigation? >> i think there's an easy solution here when you look at this on the surface. you might think that solution is a conversation about general flynn's contacts with the russians. i doubt that's what the fbi director spoke about. general flynn is now gone and i think the question is broader. going back to the fall, president obama ordered a study
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on russian intervention in the electi election. that substitute di has been done. we have more information now on involvement not only in the elections but with senior political officials including general flynn. i think the question and the conversation between comey and the congress is straightforward. to the fbi, what do you know about russian involvement in american politics before and after the election? two, how confident are you in the information you've acquired? and something we vice president talked about. i think the conversation eventually has to shift to even within two years we this go to another e election cycle. what is the government's responsibility to protect politicians in the future so this doesn't happen again? >> will it get into as much detail as yeah, there were talks between trump campaign officials and russian officials, get into that granular detail? i think it should involve that detail. remember, this conversation is not about american citizens and officials. the conversation starts with
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this is what the russians are doing, how they're trying to influence the election, this is who they're talking to. it's not about an investigation into general flynn. it's about an investigation into the russians. >> maggie, you heard phillip talk about marco rubio. afterwards rubio said i'm confident the committee i serve on will conduct a bipartisan investigation. it does seem like the senate intelligence committee, at least as of now, is ground zero for the collection and the investigation of what went on. >> i think that's right. i think this is something that the white house is very aware of. you have marco rubio having dinner with the president this week, watching that relationship is going to be important. there's a lot we may never know. but this is where you'll see the most public aspect of this happen. if you see general flynn get called to testify, for instance, you are seeing right now the white house praise general flynn, say repeatedly he was a wonderful man, all he did wrong
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was just not tell the truth to mike pence. there is a real sort of effort at a mutually assured calm between the white house and flynn. i think they both want to maintain a peace as this goes forward. but you will be testifying under oath. this will be a very heavily watched scenario. and i think when you see what you were playing earlier with the president's tweet about the fake media and the enemy of the people, he does those things when there is something else that is going on and throws chum in the water. this is not a great story line for the white house. we don't know exactly what it is but this is not helpful. >> we'll take a break but pick up when we come back. later tonight after four weeks of a republican in the white house, where does that leave republican lawmakers and is it helping or hurting that the republican president in question is donald trump?
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with all going on in washington and the world, concern about how few bodies are in place to handle a crisis, president trump is said to be devoting the weekend to find a national security adviser but also tweeting with pride about his press conference. one of the most effective press conferences i've seen, says risch limbaugh.
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back with our panel, jeffrey lord, i want to start with you. you were basically doing live commentary of rush's show yesterday and today reviewing the press conference, i'm sure you agree with him and sure also donald trump supporters, many of them, most probably agree with him. what about the people who are not ardent donald trump supporters? >> they're not going to agree. i think we've seen things are divided. over time, again, not to mention the rr word but there were people who didn't like him either, president reagan, and eventually they came around. there's four years in play here so we have a long, long, long way to go. we will see. but at the moment we are still in that divided state where the trump supporters think he was fabulous and the oh folks can't stand him. >> is he doing anything to play, to address the people who can't stand him?
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>> yeah, by being himself. if he were a phony that would be a problem. that would be a problem. he'd lose people on his own side. he's himself. that is exactly what people want to see. that's what his supporters want to see and what he's doing. >> john? >> this isn't my friend jeff a question if you like him or not or agree with policy, it's what jake tapper said, what you saw was an unhinged, deranged individual, and that's what's unsettling to people. i think to hook in the question about his attack on the press, which your interview with joaquin castro was interesting when he called the press the enemy of the people, that is an attack on the institutions of the united states in the same way he's attacked the appeals court. i think it goes to the thing that happened throughout the whole week and from the beginning of his administration which is he's incompetent. he can't run the government so he turns and attacks the press. the press should be criticized
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but they're not the enemy of the people. >> it's a rorschach test. >> it's clearly out of control. >> either it is a rorschach test because jeffrey and the people who support him will love it and those who don't use words like deranged there, but keirsten, the question is when the president does call the press the enemy of the people, what do you think so that does? >> it's destructive. one thing to criticize media coverage you don't like, another thing to delegitimize an entire institution of the media and cast them as being a grandparent of people who are out to get people, which is clearly not what's going on just because he doesn't like the coverage. i was very critical of president obama when he tried to delegitimize the fox news and that was the word used by the white house, they're not a legitimate news conversation. conservatives were angry about
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that as well. the same conservatives now sit by and act like this is okay and it's on a completely different level. president obama never said fox news was the enemy of americans. donald trump has gone from the fake news i think is a little worse than the not lenl mat, sleegtly worse, this is on a different level. the enemy of the american people? i don't understand, jeffrey, how you can criticize president obama for what he did and not criticize this. >> you may be surprised i have a column coming out tomorrow titled "the media versus america" where i talk about what he said in that press conference. it's clear to me if you read it, and i've highlighted it in the column, he holds an olive branch out to the american mia and says in essence let's talk about this, let's have a conversation. >> that's not what we're talking about. we're talking about the tweet calling the media the enemy of the american people. that's what i'm talking about.
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>> he is exactly the kind of president who can make the media versus government situation better. so they're not hostile enemies or perceived that way by the american people. >> he's trying to help us. >> jeffrey -- hang on, johnathan. he was saying president trump is trying to help. brought up richard nix op who used language like donald trump saying the media is the enemy of the people. maggie? >> inside voice. a colleague tweeted out we had to wait decades to hear that on a released tape that nixon said this. this is the outside voice on twitter where trump is saying it. i think to keirsten's point, when that happened with fox news with obama not only were conservatives upset and justifiab justifiably, the rest of the media rallied around fox news and said essentially you can't do that. trump's incredibly good at dividing and conquering the
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media and that's part of what you're seeing as a destructive value. you're not seeing what you would have seen in decades past, everybody sort of yuniting and pushing back. he's getting everybody to jump on each other. to say the media is the epmy of the people is dangerous. >> thanks so much. jeff, stick around. when we come back, what the reporter you're about to see thinks about his moment in the spotlight. and a discussion behind the question that produced this highly charged moment. >> it's not a simple question, not a fair question. okay. sit down. i understand the rest of your question. 100% of our food is 100% clean. no artificial preservatives, sweeteners, flavors, or colors. panera. food as it should be. won't replace the full value of your totaled new car. the guy says you picked the wrong insurance plan.
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today's tweet calling the news media enemies of the american people didn't convince you, president trump made it clear during his press conference how little regard he has for all but the friendliest of reporters. he interpreted one question as a personal attack. take a listen to the question from jake turks and president trump's answer.
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>> what we haven't really heard being addressed is an uptick in anti-semitism and how the government is planning to take care of it. there's been a report of 48 bomb attacks against jewish centers in the last couple weeks. >> he said he was going to ask a very simple, easy question, and it's not. it's not. not a simple question. not a fair question. okay. sit down. i understand the rest of your question. here's the story. i am the least anti-semitic perp you've seen in your entire life. number two, racism. the least racist person. he lied about he was going to ask a straight, simple question. so welcome to the world of the media. >> with that, jake became part
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of the story and the conversation tonight. however, because he observes the sabbath we spoke to him before air time and before sundown. jake, never got a chance to finish your question to president trump. what is it you wanted to ask him? >> simply put, i'd hike clarification on what is it that his administration's position is that the executive branch of the federal government of the united states can and would be doing to try to curb anti-semitism and address that issue and work together with leaders of the community. >> you worked hard to craft the question and make it clear you were not asking him that he was an anti-semite. >> right, and perhaps sometimes when you overprepare you end up doing yourself a disservice so it could be that that's what that was. i don't think we'll ever know.
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>> were you surprised he cut you off before you were finished? >> we're professional reporters. we're trained to not have any emotional attachment and not allow any kinds of feelings interfere with our jobs so surprise is something i'm not supposed to be and here i am admitting on national television i was somewhat surprised. >> he says you were being unfair. he said you lied, the preface of your question said it was going to be nice and you lied about it when in fact you work hard to make sure you were quite fair in asking it. >> right. and one of the very interesting things is the fact that for the past two years i've had a very good relationship with him and just a day earlier, less than 24 hours earlier when he escorted prime minister netanyahu out of the white house, i got a chance to just shoot a question at him and it was very simple, what is his message about how the meetings went and what does he want the jewish community to know and he was very friendly and he said, you know, went over very well. >> again, the reason you asked
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this question is there's been a rise in reporting of anti-semitic incidents, and there have been jewish centers around the country reporting bomb thets or threats to their security. this was the second day in a row that the president was asked a question or at least attempted to be asked a question about the rise in anti-semitic incidents around the country. when he was with the prime minister benjamin netanyahu a reporter asked we've seep a sharp rise in anti-semitic incidei incidents across the country and i wonder what you say to those to those who believe your administration is playing is xenophobia and racist tones. his answer to that, he talked about his electoral college win and the fact his daughter and son-in-law are jewish. two days in a row he didn't answer the question what did the administration do or what does the administration think about the rise in reporting of ant anti-semitic incidents. >> yeah. i'm going to take the
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opportunity to plug cnn because according to your own reporting there have been 48 documented incidents of bomb threats against jewish community centers around the country in the past couple weeks. >> but he hasn't to my knowledge answered the question about what he thinks about the rise in reporting of those incidents, has he? >> here's why i remain so hopeful. the trump campaign and transition and now administration have been extremely forthcoming in rea reaching out to the orthodox jewish community and i remain extremely confident that they are going to sit down and meet with leaders and figure out what can be addressed and what is the most and most efficient way to address them. >> jake, great to have you with us. thank you so much. good luck at future press conferences. what are the facts behind the questions of rising anti-semitism? we'll look at that coming up. we're right at the one-month mark of the trump presidency.
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never seen four weeks like this. we'll take stock with the panel of what we've seen and where we and he might be going. to those who know that the essence of integrity is a promise kept. ♪ if you've got the time welcome to the high life. ♪ we've got the beer ♪ miller beer withevery late night...g... and moment away... with every and paycheck... you've earned your medicare. it was a deal that was made long ago, and aarp believes it should be honored. thankfully, president trump does too. "i am going to protect and save your social security and your medicare. you made a deal a long time ago." now, it's congress' turn. tell them to protect medicare.
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before the break you heard from jake turks. what you did not hear was the back trop to his question which exists and is raising tension in jewish communities across the country. more on that now. >> hail, trump, hail our people, hail victory! >> reporter: hail victory. translated into german, heil, the surreal happening days after the election and steps from the white house a gathering of an alt-right group cheering donald trump's victory with nazi salutes. after an uproar, donald trump's transition team released a statement denouncing racism. when the president-elect himself was pressed on it by "the new york times" the day after that statement, he said he disavowed the group. back then, many people wished he'd sent a stronger message against hate. in the three months since, a rash of anti-semitic threats.
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one such bomb threat against a jewish community center caught on audiotape, the caller using voice masking technology. just the past january, nearly 60 bomb threats were called in to 48 jewish community centers ant across 26 states according to the jcca, an association of the centers. >> there's been a number of threats at jewish community centers throughout the united states. unfortunately what we're dealing with now today in the world. >> reporter: the fbi and department of justice investigating beyond the threats an submit schism across the country. this swastika spray-painted on a car in a predominantly jewish neighborhood in florida. >> that symbol is a sign of hatred, a sign of anti-semitism, which is deplorable. >> reporter: while none of the
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incidents has led to physical violence, a community is on edge. >> people are scared saying what is next, what is this about? >> reporter: the fbi which tracks hate crimes does not yet have nas nal statistics for the time period since the election but we know president trump's hometown of new york city according to ann nypd report ha seen a dramatic rise this year. that was the backdrop for the exchange in president trump's news kchs yesterday. >> sit down. i understand the rest of your question. >> reporter: and why some of his most ardent supporters wish president trump would be clearer and unequivocal in condemning bigot bigotry. gary tuchman, los angeles. >> here's the conversation. i talked to a rabbi who spoke about president trump's inauguration, founder of simon wiesenthal center. and jeffrey lord.
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jonathan, you wrote an op-ed in "the washington post" and called president trump's nonanswer on anti-semitism startling and saying it's quote only the latest episode in a troubling pattern. explain what you mean. >> well, nice to be here and i can explain over the course of the last 12 months from the campaign to the election to now we've seen a surge of anti-semitic incidences that have been troubling and many moments over the course of that time whether it was tweets that were sourced from anti-semitic websites, statements by white supremacists, or bomb threats to jewish community centers across the country where we've been looking for moral leadership from our president. yesterday was a moment where we would have hoped he would have spoken out clearly against an - anti-semiti anti-semitism. for some reason that didn't happen. we want to know why. >> the sentiment that his daughter and son-in-law and granddaughter are jewish, that alone should speak to his commitment to the jewish people
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and his stance on anti-semitism. do you agree with that? >> of course the president should speak out against anti-semitism. but we shouldn't select the vep you for him. maybe we should say to the president at a time he's comfortable in the very near future he should address anti-semitism and bigotry. let's be clear, anti-semitism and bigotry preceded president trump. >> a cnn contributor and no fan of president trump wrote a piece in the atlantic arguing the best way to understand the president's answers to the questions about anti-semitism is quote as the product of narcissism so epic that it crowds out moral concern. what do you say to that? again, yesterday and even the day before with netanyahu and asked a question about anti-semitism and he made the answers about himself rather than about the issue of the incidents.
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>> i think the rabbi is right here. and i think what goes on in the president's mind here is that knowing his own record on this, knowing he has jewish family members, knowing as you heard the other day from prime minister netanyahu, who's known him for years and vouched for him quite specifically on this subject, i think frankly that he takes offense that what he sees as suggestions that he ran an anti-semitic campaign or there were anti-semites involved in his campaign i think he takes oaf offense at it. >> i can understand. but at the news conference yesterday specifically that wasn't the question. the reporter made a huge effort to say i'm not calling you an anti-semite. i'm asking about these incidents and the president chose to talk about himself. >> you have a couple things merging here. i think his belief as he talked
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at length about the media in general not being honest, a sentiment he's expressed personally to me combined with that question and i think he went off in that area because i think he's very sensitive about this. i think it makes him very angry. >> jonathan, what would you like to hear the president -- >> i find this startling. i can't think of a more convenient venue or easy venue than the east room, a question asked by a friendly journalist who's obviously jewish or an easier opportunity than holocaust remember perhaps day when the white house issued a statement that inexplicably omitted the 6 million jews. let's be clear. this is a moment for moral leadership. and i understand that the president is angry. i am angry that a man was arraigned in myrtle beach, south carolina, yesterday, for plotting to blow up a synagogue. i am angry that there are millions of anti-semitic tweets circulating over social media. it is not because of the
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president that these are happening but it should be because of the president to -- the cause of president to say enough, no to anti-semitism and we're going to stop it. >> rabbi, it should be noted, the president is tweeting about the media. he has plenty of time to auk about his complaints about the media. could he take some of that time and say, hey, these anti-semitic incidents around the country are bad? >> yes, absolutely, but i don't think he should be tweeting or giving one or two sentences about a serious subject like anti-semitism. let me remind you there are so many people saying president trump is an anti-semite. but i remember when the center was criticized why he we didn't call president obama an anti-semite when he sat for 20 years in reverend wright's synagogue. we refused to call him an
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anti-semite because he isn't, and neither is president trump. >> i have such respect for rabbi heyer at this work for so long and has done so much work for the jewish community and all marginalized people. the question is will president trump stand up as forcefully to anti-semitism as he does to the quote/unquote fake news or as he does to "saturday night live" or the morning shows. guys, there will be hard moments for this president. this one is easy and he should not knock it out of the park. the question is why doesn't he? >> jeffrey, last word. >> well, you know, he's been there three weeks. give him a chance. give him a chance. >> all right, guys. important discussion. i appreciate the time. jeffrey lord, rabbi, jonathan, thank you so much. so four weeks into the trump presidency, one like no other. is it a good thing for the republican party? we'll check the state of the gop next. where's frank?
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for millions of baby boomers there's a virus out there. a virus that's serious, like hiv, but it hasn't been talked about much. a virus that's been almost forgotten. it's hepatitis c. one in 30 boomers has hep c, yet most don't even know it. that's because hep c can hide in your body silently for years, even decades, without symptoms and it's not tested for in routine blood work.
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if left untreated, hep c can cause liver damage, even liver cancer. but there's important information for us: the cdc recommends all baby boomers get tested for hep c. all it takes is a simple one-time blood test. and if you have hep c, it can be cured. be sure to ask your doctor to get tested for hep c. for us it's time to get tested. it's the only way to know for sure. believe it or not, it's been only four weeks since president trump has been president.
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four weeks with the potential ties to russia, that not going away but what's the state of the republican arteparty, his party four weeks into the presidency? gop political commentators. republican strategist. amanda carpenter and american spectator jeffrey llord. i want to start with you. mitch mcconnell said something fascinated, the republican leader. four weeks in, if we had a president rubio, jeb bush or romney, it would essentially be the same thing with a president truch. do you agree with that? >> i do. there's so much focus on trump. i think they're missing the story what comes down to a bottom line for republicans in congress. what trump says rhetorically has little or nothing to do with what they're going to be doing legislatively. trump can take all the focus, start a fake fight with a fake news media.
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it has nothing to do with the way they repeal obamacare or get tax reform done. i think there's some republicans relieved that trump draws all the drama his way because they can quietly get to work and hopefully have some victories to brag to the constituents about this summer. >> is it getting done? we are a month in. we hear about road blocks, stumbling blocks on obamacare. tax reform, some disagreement within the republican party about what to do. is the way the president is behaving helping advance the cause? >> well, look. i think there's two ways to look at it. the first is on the issue said, there is a great deal of agreement. i think that's the message that mitch mcconnell is trying to get across. there are issues republicans are relying on issues. obamacare, border security, and though there are details that have to be hashed out about tax reform, tax reform as a priority is still there. i think where they have not been
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aligned is on the process. and the process is really important when you're running one of the three branches of government. so i think where they have to get more in sync and i think this is where senator mcconnell and others try to send the message, and voices in the white house that get it, they need to do a better job on congressional outreach and communicating what their priorities are and being more dislinciplined about talki about those priorities. on the alignment on issues and the process, the process is much harder to fix. so the fact that they are aligned on a lot of the issues, some of the big work is already done. >> jeffrey lord, another thing, the tweets aren't helping, he doesn't like the distraction that they cause on capitol hill. and you can imagine that mitch mcconnell didn't say it out loud, maybe thought parts of the press conference weren't as helpful either and might be a distraction. so i know you think that the
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tweets, the news conference, everything that donald trump does is good for him and helpful for him. but do you think it is helping the republican party? >> yes. and let me just tell you, a writer by the name of ray di lorenzo. he's nominated the supreme court justice. saying islamic radical. school choice advocate, secretary of education and trade policies are being revised and that's before you get to obamacare and tax reform. so we need not to lose sight that things are being accomplished and sometimes, we're just not paying attention to the fact that they are. >> that's true. and those are all republican priorities there to be sure. and amanda carpenter, you're a communications expert. you saw the president deliver that news conference yesterday.
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he clearly enjoyed it. if you were giving advice to him, would you tell him to do it again? >> of course not, but he makes himself the ultimate shiny object and that's why i see a productive dynamic between the white house and republicans on capitol hill. no one is accusing paul ryan of accusing granny off the ledge because of the tax bill. i'm sorry, donald trump laid out the bait for the media and they all took it. he wanted a debate about the american news media. many people, because selfish, want to do in the media now and everyone is getting a free pass on the issues for budget reconciliation and tax reform. as a republican who believes in seeing results, wants to see those accomplished, i'm just fine with that for now. >> on the spot here, former boss, governor mitt romney, do you think he's looking at the first month of the trump administration and feeling glad he's not in it? >> if you go back to the earlier
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question about what mitch mcconnell said, no way it would be the exact same with president romney. i think we would be trying to purposely bore you right now. but i think one of the things that many republicans, even the so-called establishment republicans want to see is a little bit more of an emphasis put on the policy and to jeffrey's point, every day, finding a way to advance those policy goals rather than sort of create these distractions that sometimes hinder some of the progress. >> amanda carpenter, jeffrey lord, thank you so much for being with us. we will be right back. we trav, what is your nationality and i would always answer hispanic. so when i got my ancestry dna results it was a shocker. i'm everything. i'm from all nations. i would look at forms now and wonder what do i mark? because i'm everything. and i marked other. discover the story only your dna can tell.
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-- captions by vitac -- >> thank you for watching "ac 360." a special edition of "smerconish" starts now. america slit down the middle. can the union be saved? my special program: fixing the divide. i'm michael smerconish. four weeks to the day since he was inaugurated and keeps the truth, we were a nation divided but thisid